Leicester City signing Anthony Knockaert hoping to follow in the footsteps Malouda and Drogba
Anthony Knockaert is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba and become a big hit in English football.
The 20-year-old winger has agreed a three-year contract with Leicester City after moving from French Ligue 2 side Guingamp, who can also boast the likes of Malouda and Drogba among their list of former players who have made their mark in English football.
However, the 5ft 9in attacker almost gave up football when he was rejected by Lens for being too small.
But after being encouraged to continue by his father, the 20-year-old made a big impact at Guingamp.
He was linked with a move to Newcastle United in April, but it is City who have landed the exciting prospect.
"I wanted to stop football and it was my father who encouraged me to continue," said Knockaert in an interview in France.
"I am someone who is always there for the team. I think it's one of my qualities. And I think I have some technical skill."
Knockaert was born in Roubaix in northern France and began his junior career with Wasquehal, where he stayed for one season, before moving to Leers, a small village team.
He was picked up by Lens and signed a five-year deal, but was released.
He regained his hunger for football in Belgium with Mouscron, where he played for two seasons.
Knockaert moved back to France with Lesquin and played in the Championnat de France Amateurs Group A before he was given a chance in Ligue 2 with Guingamp in 2009, and has made 59 league appearances, scoring 13 times.
He was included in French Football Weekly's list of the top 50 best young players in France and they wrote: "His attributes are more or less what you would expect of a modern winger, but this guy has a knack of scoring goals.
"He is a regular in French youth teams and is currently in the under-20 squad.
"In short, he is a hot prospect for the future with loads of pace and trickery up his sleeve, which could help him in a league like the English Premier League."
Equally adept on both flanks, his impressive displays have earned him 10 France under-20 caps and he has scored four international goals.
His performances have attracted the attention of numerous clubs, including Newcastle and Montpellier, and City boss Nigel Pearson admitted he was a player that had been on his radar for some time.
"He will bring an awful lot of quality and enthusiasm," said Pearson. "I am looking forward to him being a big part of our season. He is someone we have been watching for a while."
City should officially announce the signing after finalising details and getting Football League approval.